While I was in a class at CrossFit Wilmington last Tuesday there came a point where we had an AMRAP of air squats, hand release push-ups, and handstand push-ups.  After our class was done, CFW Instructor Gene gathered our class together to talk about how he noticed some people in class were not squatting with proper form.  Particularly, people as they fatigued were rounding their backs not paying attention to form because, of course, its an AMRAP. Everyone is trying to bust out as many air squats as quick as possible.  He gave everyone the very important advice to make sure to engage the lats, which will help bring the shoulders back and chest up.  I completely agree.  However, it did also get me thinking more of the biomechanics of the squat and why some people’s squats are less than awesome.  Let’s face it, how often do we squat here at Crossfit?  Virtually every day there will be some exercise that will involve a squat of some kind.  Tire flipping, wall balls, thrusters, olympic lifting etc.  Squats are pretty dang important.  They should always begin with the hips dropping, with knees bending and staying in line with the lower leg, while the lower back stays neutral throughout the entire squat.

Generally when I talk with patients about squatting I see they have a very symptom focused assessment of their squat.  For example, if someone complains of back pain during a squat, they assume the problem is the back, or knee pain the problem is with the knee.  However, to perform a good squat you have to have proper form/motion in 4 areas: low back, hips, knees, and ankles.  Breakdown in any of these areas will cause problems.  For example, if someone lacks full ankle mobility, that is going to cause the knee to pull forward to compensate for that lack of motion during a squat, putting more stress on the surrounding soft tissues, especially the well known ACL.  Not engaging lats/rhomboids rounds the lower back.  A shortened psoas full of scar tissue will pull the spine forward, causing a forward lean.  Basically, what I’m trying to get across is to not approach a squat, or any lift mechanically.  As crossfitters we approach exercise and nutrition from a whole body standpoint.  We need to do the same thing when it comes to our lifts. That could mean possibly coming to more mobility days to work on form and stretching, or possibly needing to come into the office to get realigned and break down scar tissue with Active Release Technique.  Here at Crossfit Wilmington there has always been a heavy emphasis on doing things the right way, not just getting them done.  That’s why Tony/Cody have the best trainers, that’s why they have me here, that’s why they get results.

-Dr. Levi Bradburn
Active Care Chiropractic


CFW Instructor Brandon performing muscle ups.
CFW Instructor Brandon performing muscle ups.


AMRAP 20min:
Run 400m
9 Deadlift 155/105
6 Hang Power Cleans
3 Shoulder To Overhead